With the winter season comes sloppy road banks, black ice, freezing rain and any number of treacherous scenarios that can cause trouble on the road (providing you can shovel your car out from under all the snow!). Now that we’re in the midst of the most travel-intensive part of the year, it’s nearly guaranteed that one of us will find ourselves in a precarious situation due to inclement weather. Even the most cautious drivers can can’t avoid the unpredictability of Mother Nature.
Of the average 5,870,000 vehicle crashes each year, 23% of crashes are weather-related, according to the Federal Highway Administration. And in 2013, USA Today reported the United States alone suffered nearly 7,000 fatal collisions as a result of weather-related wrecks.
Below are five apps to keep you safe and help out in a pinch.
Road Trip Weather
For $1.99, iPhone users can purchase this sleek app developed by Garafa, LLC, a small-scale meteorological weather center that helps travelers plan accordingly using real-time weather data to predict where and when a potential storm may turn ugly. Simply plug in your travel departure time and anticipated travel route, and Road Trip Weather gives a snapshot of what’s in store on the roads. Tweak your travel plans accordingly and find the safest routes possible.
Think of it like your own Facebook or Twitter dedicated solely to the weather. Like searching your newsfeed, this handy weather app gives you a quick glimpse of what others are experiencing outside, i.e. pictures of snow-buried cars, golf ball-size hail, or the unenviable task of digging a car out of a ditch. Say you’re considering a trip through Lincoln, Nebraska, only to find out that the clouds are pitch black, ominous, and generally uninviting, thanks to a quick selfie on behalf of another Nebraska-bound driver.
Winter Survival Kit
Of all the apps available for download, this may be the most useful of them all, complete with customized alerts and several key options to help you through the worst of times: Alert friends and family to your whereabouts with a push of a button; guesstimate how long you can keep your car running to stay warm; and anticipate how much energy you have before it’s time to abandon ship.
This dedicated app is especially handy for AAA members, providing roadside assistance with only a press of a button, but there’s lots to enjoy for the average app user. Get maps of the area and locate the nearest cell phone charging stations, gas stations, and the nearest hotels. There’s also an option to join AAA right then and there, in case the situation proves more dire than expected.
Tow Truck Finder
For just $0.99, you can download this app from by Exact Magic Software, LLC, which tracks your location and displays the nearest tow truck and service stations on Google Maps. You’ll instantaneously be able to find addresses, phone numbers and other info for local tows, potentially saving you some wait time in frigid temperatures.
Have any other life-saving winter apps we should know about? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!